Celebrate the start of summer at Historic New England’s annual Open House at Castle Tucker and the Nickels-Sortwell House on Saturday, June 4. Free guided tours will be given at each house on the half hour, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the last tour leaving at 3 p.m. All visitors must follow current state COVID-19 guidelines and follow social distancing rules.
Castle Tucker, located at 2 Lee St. in Wiscasset, is one of Maine’s most fascinating landmarks. Step back in time as the tour moves through a mansion filled with the original furnishings and decoration of the Tucker family, who lived here for 150 years. This unusual house, filled with architectural mysteries, was built in 1807 for one of Wiscasset’s most prominent citizens, lawyer and judge Silas Lee. In 1858, Richard Tucker, Jr. bought the house for his growing family. The Tuckers updated and redecorated the house, transforming it into a Victorian mansion in the Italianate style. Very little was changed in the house after 1900, including a kitchen with four generations of kitchen technology still in place where it was used. Preserved by three generations of Tucker women, Castle Tucker is one of the most complete and original Victorian homes in the United States.
The Nickels-Sortwell House, at 121 Main St. in Wiscasset, began life as the trophy house of shipping magnate Captain William Nickels at the height of Wiscasset’s fortunes as a thriving seaport in 1807.
The Belle Haven, as it was known, became popular with locals and visitors from throughout the country and Europe until it was purchased in 1899 by Alvin Sortwell, a successful industrialist and former mayor of Cambridge, Mass. The mansion then became a much-loved summer home for the Sortwells’ large and active family. Mayor Sortwell’s wife Gertrude and daughter Frances restored the house over the years, decorating and furnishing it in the Colonial Revival style.
For more information about Castle Tucker and Nickels-Sortwell House, visit HistoricNewEngland.org or call 882-7169.